Welcome to the first 'Stroud in Transition' Newsletter of 2014. At this time of year many people are looking for new things to do, so this issue is packed with news of a whole range of opportunities for getting involved to make 2014 a positive year for you and for Stroud.
If you're short of time but still want to do something positive, how about supporting us with a donation?
Please email us
if you are interested and we will be in touch.
Our core costs are £1,200 (covering meeting room hire, insurance, websites, etc) so even a small donation can make a big difference. We want to build a resilience in funding ourselves - to avoid using lots of valuable volunteer energy chasing grants and awards.
Thanks for your support.
Thanks to Anna Bonallack, Bailey Curtis, Helen Royall, Josie Cowgill, James Beecher, Nick Weir, Philip Booth, Ellen Winter, Katy Dunne, Simon Allen, Steve Rush and Erik Wilkinson for contributions to this newsletter. If you'd like to write something for the next newsletter (due out in January) please email us
PS. Remember you can check and update your profile on our mailing list at any time by following the 'Update subscriber preferences' link in the footer of this email.
Stroud Potato Day 2014
Saturday 1st February, 10.00 – 4.00, Merrywalks Centre, Stroud
Once again Transition Stroud and Down to Earth will be organising their annual Stroud Potato Day.
Amanda Godber from Down to Earth said, “this is such an exciting time of year with the promise of many a happy hour getting your seed packets sorted and ready to sow. Now you can buy your selection of seed potatoes to plant and have a delicious variety on your table throughout the summer.”
Come and join us at the Merrywalks shopping centre between 10.00 and 4.00 and you might even be able to taste a delicious lemon drizzle cake made with mashed potato.
You don't need a big garden or allotment to grow potatoes, you can grow them in containers even on a patio or by your back door!
Varieties available will include:
1st Earlies: SWIFT, INTERNATIONAL KIDNEY, CASABLANCA, ROCKET, ARAN PILOT, COLLEEN
2nd Earlies: CHARLOTTE, KESTREL, NADINA, MARFONA, VIVALDI, NOVELLA, ORLA
Main: KING EDWARD, DESIREE, PINK FIR APPLE, SARPO MIRA, ROBINTA
You can read some interesting stories about potatoes as well as pick up some lovely recipe ideas on the Stroud Potato Day blog.
In Transition 2.0
Date for your Diary! On Sunday 9th March, Transition Stround will be organising a screening of In Transition 2.0. In Transition 2.0 is the new film from the Transition Network, capturing inspiring stories of Transition initiatives around the world, responding to uncertain times with creativity, solutions and 'engaged optimism'.
You can view a trailer here. Although you can watch the whole film online. please come to watch it with your local community instead, where the thoughts and ideas that come out of watching it can be shared. We will send out more details nearer the time.
Stroud Eco-Renovation Open Homes
We will again be presenting our Open Homes weekend, this year on the Bank Holiday weekend of May 3rd and 4th, 2014. There will be lots of Eco-renovation to see and you will get a chance to talk to the home owners about what they have had done, who did it, what difference it has made. Some of the homes will have small workshops for you to pick up more information. We will also have an Installers Fair in the Stroud Sub Rooms on Saturday 26th April where you will be able to talk to lots of different installers about what is on offer locally.
Before the event there will be two SkillsGain workshops on 13th and 20th of March, focussing on the report from the Centre for Alternative Technology about a Zero Carbon Britain and what we can do here in Stroud towards it. See the SkillsGain section below for more details.
Transition Stroud Transport Group
Bailey Curtis writes: "Transition Stroud Transport Group was reformed in October 2013, after a previous incarnation in 2007, with ideas to co-ordinate walking, cycling groups bus & train users. There is already a big cycling presence in the Stroud area but we wanted to address other areas that don’t get so much publicity.
"I did a survey at Cam & Dursley station during the 2 hour morning commute to Bristol. Several users come from Stroud, Stonehouse, Chalford and Nailsworth and said they would use a bus to the station if a decent service was provided - the station car park gets very overcrowded. There is a move to re-open the Stonehouse station on the Bristol line, that, along with a regular bus service would make a big difference to these commuters. I plan to do a similar survey at the other Stonehouse station on the Stroud / Kemble line, and one at Stroud station, both at the morning commute times. It would be really good to have help with these. With our findings, we could put together a plan towards getting more people to use public transport and use their cars less!
"There are also ideas of train and cycle or walking routes to be linked up for leisure purposes, providing maps and routes, using the stations as a starting point. This is already being organised by Cotswolds Tourism, using Kemble and Stroud, with 30 mile round trips, their maps will be out soon. For families with younger children or older people that may be a bit far and shorter routes could be planned.
"Unfortunately some of the original members of the group have had to step down and we are down to two of us. Please come and help promote alternative transport solutions for Stroud and the District."
Contact Bailey Curtis bailey.c@btinternetcom for more details.
Skillsgain programme for January-April 2014
HELP NEEDED – “Fix It For Free” Repair Cafe in Nailsworth
Transition Stroud has now run 3 “Fix It For Free” Repair Cafes in Stroud and now intends to run one in late February (on a Sunday afternoon) in Nailsworth. It would be really good if we could recruit local Nailsworth “experts” to repair clothes or fix mechanical /electrical devices – and anyone to help organise it. See this video of a recent Fix It For Free Repair Cafe in Stroud - and below the idea behind them. If anyone is interested in helping/wants more information please email Erik or ring 07725 900666.
“Based on the Repair Café Movement in Holland, the aim is to fix or repair any garment or electrical/mechanical device you can get to the café – for free! Hosted by Pam at Practical Intelligence at Nailsworth Subscription Rooms, there will be experienced engineers and sewing/machining volunteers from Transition Stroud to try to fix whatever you bring. You get it fixed (hopefully) - and for free, the planet benefits as you don’t have to buy a new one and we all have a relaxing time over a coffee at your local café”
Developing Personal Resilience:
Date: Wednesday 12th February. Time: 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Venue: Stroud TBC.
Tutor: Mark Phillips.
Cost: £5 or 4 Stroud Pounds.
The aim is to introduce the work of Joanna Macey - to help uncover through experiential exercises our innate connections with each other - and with the self healing power of the web of life. Through awakening our interconnectedness we can then be enlivened and motivated to play our part in creating a sustainable world.
If there is sufficient interest it is hoped to offer future meetings to develop a deeper insight into her work
Zero Carbon Britain: The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has produced a report “Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future” (download a copy for free). SkillsGain is devoting two workshops to this important report. Both workshops can be attended individually or jointly.
Workshop A: Zero Carbon Britain – a practical reality
Date: Thursday 13th March. Time: 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Venue: Stroud TBC.
Tutor: Jon Barrance.
Cost: £5 or 4 Stroud Pounds.
This workshop informs on the key findings of the CAT report. It outlines the research that demonstrates that a zero carbon Britain is currently possible without relying on promises of future technology, whilst maintaining a modern standard of living. It tackles the challenge of moving to - and managing renewable energy, as well as the issues of transport, food, industry and lifestyle that could produce a more resilient, healthier Britain.
To book: email Erik or ring 07725 900666.
Workshop B: Zero Carbon Britain – my carbon footprint and how to reduce it
Date: Thursday 20th March. Time: 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Venue: Stroud TBC.
Tutor: Jon Barrance.
Cost: £5 or 4 Stroud Pounds.
This workshop will briefly summarise the key findings of the CAT Report. The focus of the workshop will be on identifying your own personal carbon profile through completion on computer of a questionnaire. We will be able to assess the effectiveness of any changes we can make and there will be an open discussion on the necessity, benefits and challenges of taking personal actions.
Bring your own computer if you have one.
To book: email Erik or ring 07725 900666.
Make Your Own String
Tuesday 15th April. Time: 7.30pm to 9.30pm Venue: Stroud TBC
Tutor: Jim Russell.
Cost: £5 or 4 Stroud Pounds .
String, cordage, ropes; a low tech approach to solving many problems. This workshop will encompass a brief overview of historic uses for string and materials for making it. We will then make our own string from locally foraged materials. In addition we will look to repurposing recycled materials to make cordage.
To book: e mail: Erik or ring 07725 900666.
Building Skills Action Group
Join Stroud's Building Skills Action Group (BSAG), and learn new DIY, building and craft skills. It's fun, and you get the job done! See our website for more details.
We meet at the Hay Barn at Hawkwood College. The next Hay Barn Workdays are Sat 8th Feb, and Sat 8th March. Dates further ahead possibly Sat 8th & 29th March tbc. Plus I think Blacksmithing on Sun 9th Feb tbc.
I wonder if anyone is interested in doing a Stained Glass Taster Day sometime in the coming months? Just in case some of you don't use Facebook but would like to see the photos, here's some links to last weekends activities.
BSAG day on the Saturday The Blacksmithing day on Sunday.
The Blacksmithing is the beginning of a new group. Do let me know if your interested. We only have one anvil so I have to be careful with numbers, but as we get more proficient, maybe we can do more. Many thanks to everyone for making the BSAG what it is!
Stroud's Own Tea Towel!
Stroud’s enterprising Weston O’Neill family have spotted and filled a glaring gap – a tea towel celebrating all good things Stroud!
The newly-designed tea towel which celebrates over 200 good things about living in Stroud has been an instant hit with Stroudco Food Hub whose customer Carol Mathews says ‘we bought a tea towel last week as a present for my Mum and liked it so much we bought another one for ourselves this week!’
The tea towel was designed by the Weston O’Neill family who made a list of all the things they love about Stroud and then fitted them into a stylish design spelling the word ‘Stroud’ printed in dark green lettering on a light cream organic cotton background. Claudia Weston says “Stroud is such a wonderful place to live – there are so many good things going on here - we couldn’t believe that there wasn’t already a tea towel that celebrated them all. It was great fun designing the tea towel – my children came up with so many ideas we struggled to fit them all on the design!”
Louis Weston O’Neill (14) was awarded Stroud Town Council’s Young Environmental Champion award for 2013 partly for his work in supporting initiatives such as Stroudco Food Hub – Louis is Stroudco’s youngest food producer and grows fruit and vegetables in his own garden. Louis says “we are very pleased that the tea towel has been so popular – we might have to do another print run!”
Esmee Weston O’Neill (10) who also helps produce soups, spreads and snacks for sale on the Food Hub says “if we do have another print run we could ask people to send us their ideas for other things they like about Stroud – then maybe we could spell ‘Love Stroud’!”
Nick Weir, volunteer on Stroudco’s management group says “it is great to see that the tea towel is selling so well – I am sure that we will have to ask the Weston O’Neills to print more – they are a ‘must have’ item for anyone who loves Stroud! To order a tea towel go to www.stroudco.org.uk and open a free account, then go to the ‘food hub’ tab and put ‘towel’ in the search box – it is the only towel for sale on the food hub!”
Stroudco has been providing a wide range of locally-produced food and drink and offering a home delivery service for over four years. It is a not-for-profit grocery which is controlled by the people who use the Food Hub. There are 54 producers and 390 shopper families who are part of this fast-growing enterprise.
Stroudco Food Hub welcomes drop-in visitors every Saturday between 11am and 1pm at Stroud Valley Community School on Castle Street GL5 2HP.
To see the steadily-growing range of local and store cupboard produce available go to www.stroudco.org.uk where you can download the full catalogue or just browse the website. There is no cost to opening a Stroudco account – you just pay £1 each time you make an order to help with running costs. Once you have opened an account you will receive a weekly email letting you know about new Stroudco producers, special offers and Stroudco events.
For more information about Stroudco Food Hub please call Nick on 01453 840037 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The aim of Edible Stroud is to grow more food locally. Last year we planted fruit and nut trees and soft fruit bushes at the Lake at the Lawn, next to the Cainscross roundabout, and in Stratford Park. The next round of planting will begin in the next few weeks at Stroud Maternity Hospital. Negotiations are still taking place about what we can plant but it will include a range of fruit trees, soft fruit bushes, herbs and flowers. Planting dates will be announced as soon as we get the final go ahead from the powers that be.
We are also awaiting news from Stroud District Council as to which parts of land along the canal could benefit from planting with wild life friendly and edible delights. Anyone interested in being a part of this project or being kept informed about what we are doing, please email email@example.com and ask to be added to our group email list.
Woodfuel Group celebrate 600 hours of conservation
Here's a report from Philip Booth who set up this group nearly 3 years ago....
A group of volunteers supported by Transition Stroud has been helping the National Trust with their woodland management. Transition Stroud is a network for local people and groups working on the transition to a locally-based low carbon lifestyle. The project started in 2011 and the team meet about 5 times a year to support work in Randwick and Standish Woods, Shortwood and Haresfield Beacon.
On Saturday 14th December the group celebrated 600 hours work with potatoes and sausages baked on a fire.
John Fisher, Coordinator of the group, said: "It''s been great for us to work in partnership with the National Trust; to be able to assist, Tim Jenkins, the Ranger, with some conservation and woodland management. In nearly 3 years the group has provided over 600 hours!"
Philip Booth, who helped set up the group, added: "It is great to come together with other local residents - and a bonus is, that often the members are able to leave with a boot load of wood to chop at home. Tim Jenkins has been fantastic - particularly great is learning more about our local woods from the ancient barrows to 70 year old anthills and rare moths. Many of us have missed some of the great stories and life of our countryside; it is wonderful to reconnect and learn."
Tim Jenkin's, the Ranger who supports the work, said: “It’s a real privilege to work in partnership with Transition Stroud, to have the local community involvement is so important. Their enthusiasm and commitment has helped to manage a beautiful part of the Cotswolds, here at Haresfield. We are very lucky in the Stroud area to have so much free access to wonderful countryside providing so many benefits.”
You can see a video made March 2011 about the project here
Creative Sustainability Projects for 2014
Creative Sustainability is a Community Interest Company that sees environmental Sustainability as something that can enhance our lives, our work, our organisations and our communities. They aim to extend local resilience by supporting communities to adapt to and survive change innovate meaningful work opportunities for young people to develop skills and confidence and experience advance the take-up of Education for Sustainable Development in secondary schools and colleges develop environmental and sustainability skills, knowledge and understanding explore, extend and empower personal, social and environmental responsibility encourage community togetherness and social cohesion
CSCIC are involved in a variety of projects in 2014, including:
Energy and Waste contracts - to provide affordable best practice and services
Schools Waste, Energy and Water Reduction programme - audits and changing behaviour
Through promoting the principles and benefits of energy/waste and water conservation CSCIC aims to enrol up to at least 5 schools by end of 2014 to undertake an audit and behaviour programme
As part of the Schools Energy and Waste reduction programme we are working towards making green energy more accessible to schools and encouraging better waste practices.
My World - sustainable life-styles book for young people by young people
CSCIC has begun a new project, My World - a collaboration between youth groups and programmes in the district, to produce a published work of drawings, photographs and diagrams to show how we can live more sustainably.
Access Bike - bikes and training for disadvantaged young people, schools’ cycling strategies
Creative Camping - residential wild camps for disabled and non-disabled teenagers
CSCIC is working with the successful TS project and aims to provide
Creative Camping provides at least three weekend residentials a year at wild camping locations. Young people tend to return year after year. We encourage young volunteers take part in the camps, half of whom are usually aged 17-19. Adult volunteers come as part of our inclusion strategy and all support the young people to engage in all activities and communicate with their peers. Creative Camping aims to:
Youth Organisation Development - support for local youth organisation towards inclusion
CSCIC supports and coordinates the Stroud Valleys Woodcraft Folk (SVWF) youth organisation - on everyday tasks and an annually planned programme of inclusion including training, capacity building and funding for families.
For more information on these projects see this document.
Stroud Community TV
Stroud Community TV is a Transition Stroud project to help build resilient communities. We now have over 1,100 films on the website and more being added every week. You can get news of films being added by Twitter, Facebook or our monthly newsletter - sign up in right hand column of our website. See our latest newsletter here.
We are hoping to soon launch nominations for Stroud Community TV Awards 2013. If you want to get involved or would like to help make a film do get in touch; see details on our website.
Gloucester Wildlife Trust Events in January and February
The Gloucester Wildlife Trust are running some events around Stroud that you might be interested in. These are particularly aimed at their local supporters, and so are not in the GWT Wild Events leaflet. All events are free (donations gratefully received!) and full tools and training are given. Booking is greatly appreciated so they know who to expect, how many tools to take, and how much cake to bring! Under 16's must be accompanied by an adult.
Thursday 16th January, Coppicing and Wassail, Lower Woods, between Hawkesbury Upton and Wickwar 10am - 4.30pm
Come and learn the traditional skills of coppicing trees to create open habitat and useful regrowth used for fencing and other woodland products. This is a relaxed and friendly day with a bonfire and cake where people can work at their own pace. As it gets dark we will join with regular volunteers for a fun Wassail celebration in the newly restored orchard to awaken the trees and scare away spirits for a good crop. Suitable for children aged 8+.
Thursday 30th January, New Toad Patroller Training, Richmond Painswick, 7-9pm
If you are interested in being a life saver this spring become a Toad Patroller at one of many local Toads on Roads crossings. Patrollers work at dusk on mild nights when toads will be migrating to their breeding ponds. Patrollers look along pavements and verges at known sites to collect toads, frogs and newts and bucket them safely across the road. This training session is to introduce new patrollers to existing patrols and teach them how to patrol and survey.
Sunday 23rd February, Cake and Conservation, Westley Farm, Chalford 10am-3pm
Enjoy being outside? Want to learn new skills, have fun and meet like-minded people? Then come along to our conservation taster day to see the kind of conservation work we do. We’ll be cutting and burning scrub to recreate links between two wildflower-rich areas, to encourage more butterflies and surveying for marsh fritillary caterpillars. Westley Farm will be providing a delicious home-cooked lunch. May not be suitable for young children under 8 due to nature of the work, parental discretion advised.
Ellen Winter (Stroud Community Wildlife Officer) writes: "I really hope you'll be able to join me, and please do pass this on to your friends and family, the more the merrier! If you'd like to book on any of these events, simply contact the office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01452 383333. Full details and directions are sent to everyone booked shortly before the event."
Keeping in touch with Transition Stroud
If you'd like to get more involved with Transition Stroud (many of you already are!) there are several things you can do.
You can join our Discussion email group, where anyone who joins can post messages about things relevant to Transition. This is an active list where you can hear what others are involved in that's related to Transition, and join in discussions about specific topics.
To find out more about Transition across the UK and the world, read the Transition Free Press. Transition Stroud has some copies available at events and also from the Stroud Valleys Project Eco Shop on Threadneedle St. in Stroud, price £1, with proceeds going to support Transition Stroud's work. So pick up your copy soon!
Transition Stroud is on Twitter - you can follow us @TTStroud. We currently have over 600 followers. We use Twitter to circulate stories of interest that are available on the internet, news about events and meetings, and occasional notes about what we're up to.
We also circulate items of interest on the Transition Stroud Facebook page.
Transition Stroud is on Skype - our Skype ID is transition.stroud. Feel free to get in touch and share your contact details with us if you use Skype, and then contact us using the chat function if you see we're online. This can be useful if you want to ask a quick question or find out about something and happen to be on-line at the time. We're looking at ways of holding Skype 'drop-in' sessions where someone will try to be available at certain times of the week.
Drop in sessions
Someone from Transition Stroud often works in the Stroud Valleys Project Ecoshop on Threadneedle Street in Stroud on a Friday. So feel free to pop in to find out about Transition-related activities going on in Stroud (and see what SVP have to offer!). We also hold information stalls at various events throughout Stroud, but these depend on volunteer support, so if you're willing to help out please email us.